Yes, it was changed to a duathlon format the day before and the bike course was shortened by 4 miles due to debris from the storm, but disorganized? I don't think so. The course was clearly marked, there were volunteers where volunteers needed to be (even if not precisely at the mark they said they were going to be) and there were medical and police officers in abundance.
Overall, I did think that the race lost the charm of what the race promised to include and that is the scenery and culture of New Orleans. Finishing in the French Quarter had to have been a pretty cool way to end a race- which was originally the main draw for me to sign up. So, I was disappointed when that was moved. There was one aid station, that on one run loop was playing traditional New Orleans jazz music and I thought that was a lot of fun while it lasted.. but it was back to Eminem and Black Eyed Peas and pretty much what you'd find at any generic tri for the rest of the race. Sigh...
If there was any question as to why they cancelled the swim, you can see my video that I took while in transition the day before the race, here:
Race management did the right thing. And, while, yes.. it was disappointing, they kept the athletes safe and that should always be their priority.
I'll preface with saying that there were a lot of unknowns for me leading up to leaving for the race that proved to be very stressful. And between the TX weather (tornadoes, rain, etc.) and dealing with being sick, things weren't really working in my favor. I'm not making excuses but, I've been thinking a lot about my state of mind and performance and have a lot to work on for my upcoming races.
My mom and daughter had traveled with me to the race and they hung out in the car watching a Disney movie while I set up transition. I met up with my Twitter friend, @DoriSpaulding in transition, headed back to the car to get my Good Luck hugs and kisses and then met back up with Dori and her friend, Ann and ended up spending the rest of the morning with them... hanging out in bathroom lines... checking out the funky race outfits the Europeans were wearing and chatting until our 30-39 age group left two by two out on our 2 mile run to start the race. Love them both! So sweet! :)
Run #1: 2 miles
|Sporting the @EpixGear Tri Kit|
The run was uneventful. Up and over an overpass to really wake up your legs, turnaround and do it again and head back to transition. The run went quickly. I had realized at the starting line that I forgotten to add water to my aerobottle. I had planned on waiting until the last minute because I was afraid that if it was too windy, it would dump out. Rookie mistake. Dug through my backpack, found the extra water bottle, dumped it in, helmet, changed to my bike shoes and was out.
One thing that was nice about the duathlon format was there was no wetsuit to strip and I already had on my sunglasses, arm warmers, race belt and Sock Guy socks ... a few less things to worry about in transition!
Bike: 52 miles
To say it was windy on the bike would be an understatement. Although forecasts said 15mph, I ride in that pretty much all the time at Texas Motor Speedway and the gusts that we had were way in excess of that. With the headwind came a super fantastic tailwind, but if you were met with the strong gust of a crosswind and were coming down an overpass in the 30mph+ range, it didn't fare well for a lot of people. There were a lot of wrecks on the course. One gal was being loaded into an ambulance with a neck brace, several others being attended to by EMS and lots of road rash. There was a guy who passed me in the same Epix Gear tri top and he had significant bloody road rash down the side of his arm. (Major props to him, though)
|Death grip on my aerobars!|
I couldn't get my saddle bag to close properly, so I did a half-assed job and stopped messing with it. Not so smart. At about Mile 30, I hit a bump and the saddle bag was left hanging by a strap. I stopped again and for the life of me couldn't get it back on. I wanted to chuck it at that point, but I still had 20+ miles to go and with the luck I was having, figured I would flat and need it. I tried tying the straps in a knot. Finally got it on after about a hundred more people passed me. At this point I think mentally my wheels fell off. The wind was beating me up and I was in a bad mood from my bad luck. It didn't help either that I did not want to eat- at all. I choked down one package of Clif Shot Blocks over the entire ride and drank some Gatorade and water.
(Side Note: To the guy who was wearing the banana hammock on the bike... I don't care how fast you are. An extra half yard of spandex will not slow you down. Your hairy posterior is something I could live with never seeing again and the mental image will likely haunt my future dreams.)
Run: 13.1 miles
But, I wanted to be done and not finishing was not an option. In typical fashion, I actually felt better between miles 7-10. I'm pretty sure I saw Dori a couple of times on the course and Ann was just a bit behind me and was closing in fast. She skipped herself to the finish line- both her and Dori had total rockstar finishes. Me... not so much. I ran about 15 minutes slower than my last half ironman. Sure, I was in the final stages of training for a full at that point, but I know I am capable of running faster.
I know things could have been worse. I am thankful I didn't crash. I'm thankful I finished. I am thankful for being healthy enough to compete in a sport that I am passionate about and that I have a full schedule of racing ahead of me for this summer. It just wasn't the race I had hoped for.
But, we headed for Orange Beach, AL which was about 3 1/2 hours away... and well... life was better.
Thanks for reading! :)
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